SOMEONE ELSE?S WINDOWS: Political low blows

The determination (read despair) shows in the decision to field boxing champion Manny Pacquiao against incumbent South Cotabato Rep.

Darlene Antonino-Custodio as well as in the replacement of an obscure governor by actor Cesar Montano in the administration’s senatorial ticket.

For the Palace, the bottom line is a candidate’s winning chances. Forget about credentials and legislative acumen. The overriding concern is to buy political peace for Ms Gloria M. Arroyo until 2010, that is, if she has shelved plans to extend her

illegal stay through Charter change or other means at her disposal. And it is unfortunate that she is exploiting the popularity factor for a selfish end.

I have nothing against Pacquiao and Montano. I do believe they are sincere in their motives. But sincerity is not the only trait that voters should look for in candidates. The two may have excelled in their chosen careers. Governance, however, is an

entirely different field. And the sooner they understand this, the better it would be for them and for the country.

Despite his status in the sporting world, popularity hasn’t got into Pacquiao’s head. It’s more likely Malacañang’s agents misled the unwary Pacman into making a decision which could bring ruin to a phenomenal boxing career. Poor Manny, he’s got a low blow, and he’s not complaining. Worse, in case he wins, he’ll frequently suffer the pain of the political equivalent of a knockout

Mr. Pacquiao should have heeded the well-intentioned pleas of his fans and of his mother for him to shun politics. He is not indebted to Malacañang that he should feel obliged to bow to its wishes; he carved a name for himself in boxing through sheer hard work and talent. The champ owes his success to himself and to his team, not to a lawyer who holds the record for most number of libel cases filed or to a mayor who would always escort him in victory parades in his trademark hula-inspired polo.

The same holds true for Mr. Montano. He’ll be doing us a favor by remaining as an actor. Film director Marilou Diaz-Abaya once called him a “consummate artist.” But such accolade does not translate into political skills and savvy. He is cut out to portray social issues in a medium where two or more takes are allowed. The halls of Congress, however, permit no rehearsals much less doubles.

Senator Lito Lapid realized this rather belatedly. A few weeks ago, he jokingly told a TV reporter that he is unfit to be in the Senate, hence his plan to run as mayor of Makati City. It was more than just a Freudian slip.

Any word from Senator Bong Revilla?

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno received in 1987 the Jose W. Diokno Award for winning in a national editorial writing contest sponsored by Ang Pahayagang Malaya and the family of the late senator. He currently edits two publications of an environmental NGO.)